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Summary for 5101 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2335 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Swan Hansen Building Common Name: Dock St. Brokers
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1905


Constructed c.1905 for Swan Hansen, the Hansen Building is among the oldest, most intact and architecturally significant historic buildings within the Ballard Avenue Landmark District. The Ballard Avenue Landmark District encompasses a particularly well preserved section of one of several successful small towns that flourished around the perimeter of Seattle in the late nineteenth century and would be subsequently incorporated into the metropolis. Ballard Avenue is lined with an intact collection of modest scale commercial buildings that reflect the development of the community’s main commercial street between 1890 and 1930. The character of this distinctive historic streetscape was primarily preserved because it was by-passed by Post-War era development that instead occurred along modern arterials - Market Street and 15th Avenue, to the north and east. In 1976, the Ballard Avenue Landmark District was formally designated a local historic district by the City of Seattle and was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places (Ballard Avenue Historic District).

This historic property is directly associated with a crucial era in the commercial and industrial development of Ballard (1900-1907) when the commercial district along Ballard Avenue was fully established and a significant number of permanent buildings were constructed. By the early 1900s Ballard became known as the “Shingle Capital of the World” with approximately twenty lumber and shingle mills in full operation. In addition to the mill operations the industrialized shoreline included iron foundries, machine shops, paint manufactures, shipyards, pipe making plants and boiler works. Substantial commercial buildings were constructed along Ballard Avenue as the local population grew to over 10,000 residents (including 3,400+ school age children) by 1904. During this era Ballard Avenue functioned as a full service commercial street populated by numerous boarding houses, hotels and lodging houses, clothing merchants, banks, hardware dealers, druggists, dry good stores, laundry businesses, meat markets, restaurants, theaters and saloons. Gradually, the earliest wood-frame structures were replaced by more permanent – often architect designed – commercial buildings.  Among the distinctive masonry and stone buildings that date from this era and most of which continue to characterize the streetscape are the G.B. Sanborn Block (1901, Portland Building (1901), Felt Block/Jones Building (1901, demolished), St. Charles Hotel (1902), Deep Sea Fisherman’s Building (1902), Scandinavian American Bank (1902), Matthes Block (1903), Kelsey Block (1903), Junction/Lombardini Block (1904), Kutzner Block (1904), Barthelemy Bros. Hardware Building (c.1904), Ernst Brothers Hardware Building (1904, demolished), A.L. Palmer Building (1905), Theisen Block (1905), Ballard Hardware Supply (1905), Peterson Hardware Co. (c.1905), Markussen Building (1905), and the Enquist Block (1906). In late 1906 Ballard residents approved annexation and the town became part of the City of Seattle on January 1, 1907. The boom era of major commercial construction began to lessen after the annexation.



Efforts to identify an architect or builder associated with the construction of this building have been unsuccessful. It was built c.1905 for Swan Hansen, the president of Horse Shoe Mining Company and initially housed the Henry Brother Saloon, operated by Charles and Lewis Henry. It may have also been known historically as the North Stat Bar and Hotel. It was noted on the 1905 Sanborn insurance map as a two-story building with saloon at ground floor and “rooms” on the second floor. The original address was 165 Ballard Avenue. From 1908 until the prohibition era the Pederson and Olson Bar operated here. It then began to operate as the Ballard Hand Laundry (Walter Forrester, proprietor) and then as Ballard Laundry, (1925 prop. HW Daniels & JA Stromstea) and reportedly it also housed a speakeasy. The ground floor continued to function as a commercial laundry (Century Laundry 1943-44) operation until the 1950s. The upper floor level functioned as lodgings with eight rooms and one shared bathroom; however tax records indicate that by 1963 it in very poor condition and limited use. In 1971, the building underwent a major repair and renovation effort, which triggered historic preservation activities along Ballard Avenue.


Property Record Cards (1937-1972). Washington State Regional Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch, Bellevue, WA.

“Ballard Avenue Historic District” National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form (Prepared by Elisabeth Walton Potter, OAHP, April 1976.)

Ballard Historical Society, Ballard Avenue Landmark District Plaque Project records.

Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle, Wash. Philadelphia: W.G. Baist, 1905, 1912.

Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1884-1951. Digital versions available via Seattle Public Library -

Prominently located at corner lot with canted corner entry. Otherwise rectangular foot print. Two story, two-part commercial block façade composition. Brick masonry and concrete structure with foundation. Rectangular footprint with one-story addition to SW side. Red brick masonry cladding with narrow mortar joints. Distinctive rusticated quoin treatment (using buff color bricks) at structural corner piers. Canted entry bay distinguished by segmental arched entry opening and second floor level polygonal bay with polygonal hipped roof. Second floor level at façade exhibits three segmental arched window openings with stone sills and surmounted by buff-color brick voussoirs. Second floor level at side elevation (Dock Place) exhibits three wooden narrow boxed-bay windows with polygonal hipped roofs. Historic double-hung, one over one windows remain in place. Smaller segmental arched window openings at Dock Place first floor level elevation. Brick intermediate cornice/belt course. Highly distinctive corbelled/chevron pattern buff brick cornice at unadorned parapet cap. Storefront at Ballard Avenue has been partly altered. Intact low bulkhead and window openings. Altered sash. Mezzanine/transom lights panel obscured by sign panel. Shadow of large old painted wall sign (Elgins Watches) visible on brick surface of NW elevation adjacent to Ballard Avenue. Dock Street elevation of one-story rear addition is clad with red brick and appears intact with original window and door openings in place.

Detail for 5101 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2335 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 5101 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2335 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Sep 30, 2015

Photo taken Sep 30, 2015

Photo taken Sep 30, 2015
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